Have I really not updated in so long that I have missed writing about my last two free Sunday morning church excursions?!
Last month I was blessed to attend the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, also in Parma. I attended their English liturgy, and I have to say, that has been my favorite Eastern Church experience so far! A young, passionate priest, and a diverse congregation. If I was not a musician, and having difficulties at my Roman parish, I would seriously consider that as an option.
It contained of course the beautiful Liturgy of St. John Chrysostym, and unfortunately my memory is failing me since it was quite some time ago, but I remember that like most other Eastern liturgies I've been to, almost everything was sung a cappella. I believe there was an accompanied hymn at communion, and also one at closing. The only thing that was odd, (and embarrassing for me as an outsider!) At what seemed to me the obvious ending of the liturgy, they did the hymn, and then everyone just stood there and waited! In the booklet I was following along with, there was no indication of anything else happening. I actually had to leave then to get somewhere that I had to be, so I attempted to slip out, awkwardly not knowing how long this waiting was going to continue! But I hadn't even gotten out to my car and everyone came out! Not sure what I missed. Maybe an additional blessing from the priest?
Then, this month on my free Sunday, we were travelling in the Columbus diocese. I had heard that it is relatively a great diocese, but for various reasons, the choice of our Sunday morning church was out of my control. We walked into the church, and I was delighted to see a very young priest in the sacristy, and an adult altar server dressed in a cassock and surplice! This bodes well...
Sure enough, (we found out later) the priest was a brand new priest from this spring. And he is definitely trained in the Extraordinary Form. What a pleasant surprise to observe his extremely devout demeanour during Mass, such as how he bowed his head at every mention of the name of "Jesus," and kept his fingers together following the Consecration. He also gave a wonderful homily. This Mass was the 8 am, so if anything it was likely to be their "traditional" liturgy, if they have a distinction. While the hymnal was Gather, I could not have faulted whoever picked out the hymns on a single one, especially given what they were working with! How rare to go to a random church while traveling and to walk out of Mass pleasantly surprised!